WEST SIDE STORY Comes to The Moonlight

WEST SIDE STORY Comes to The Moonlight

"West Side Story," one of the most iconic American musicals of all time, continues Moonlight Stage Productions 39th summer season with performances from August 14 - 31, 2019 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets, priced $17 - $57, are on sale now online at moonlightstage.com or by phone by calling VisTix at (760) 724-2110. Discounts are available for seniors, students, and military. Original director and choreographer Jerome Robbins conceived the idea for "West Side Story" basing it on Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet." This revered musical tells the tragic love story of Tony and Maria as they seek "a somewhere" where their love can survive in the midst of chaos of two warring gangs who clash in a turf war on the gritty streets of New York City of the 1950s. This revolutionary musical changed the course of American musical theatre when it premiered on Broadway in 1957 with Leonard Bernstein's bold and Grammy-winning score, the soaring lyrics of Stephen Sondheim making his Broadway debut at age 25, and Jerome Robbins' milestone direction and breathtaking choreography. Arthur Laurents completed the artistic team as the show's Tony nominated author. The Grammy-winning score includes "Something's Coming," "Maria," "America," "Somewhere," "Tonight," "I Feel Pretty," "Jet Song," and "Cool." Moonlight Stage Productions is dedicating its production of "West Side Story" to the memory of Harold "Hal" Prince, the original Broadway production's producer who passed away at age 91 on July 31, 2019. Prince stepped in to save the musical by securing funding after the original producer backed out fearing the show was "too dark" and would flop.

Starring in the Moonlight revival are Bella Gil as Maria and Michael James Byrne as Tony. Gil is a recent Orange County High School of the Arts graduate whose credits include lead roles in productions of "Sweeney Todd," "She Loves Me" in concert, "The Mystery of Edwin Drood," "The Secret Garden," "Bye Bye Birdie," "Follies," and "Beauty and the Beast." Byrne is a New York City-based actor returning to the Moonlight after starring as Chad in the 2015 production of "All Shook Up." He has performed internationally in the premiere of Stephen Schwartz's "Magic To Do," and "Rock Of Ages." His regional credits include lead roles in "Mary Poppins," "South Pacific," "42nd St.," "Smokey Joe's Café" and others.

As Riff, the leader of The Jets, Taylor Simmons is marking his sixth production of "West Side Story" having recently appeared as A-Rab for the Lyric Opera of Chicago, as Snowboy for Atlanta Opera, Gee-Tar for Kansas City Opera, Luis for Houston Grand Opera, and Baby John for San Diego Musical Theatre.

Armando Eleazar makes his Moonlight debut as Bernardo, the leader of The Sharks. Later this year, Eleazar makes his Broadway debut in the ensemble of the Broadway revival of "West Side Story." He is a graduate of AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts in Los Angeles, receiving his BFA. As Anita, Courtney Arango makes her Moonlight debut. Her credits include "In the Heights" for Portland Center Stage, Milwaukee Rep, Seattle Rep, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, and The Ordway; Weston Playhouse's "West Side Story," The MUNY's "Shrek The Musical," "The Addams Family," and "Mary Poppins"; The Fulton Theater's "Footloose;" Maine State Music Theater's "Spring Awakening;" and The Crest Theater's "A Chorus Line" Her concert appearances include "A Night With The Stars" (featuring Chita Rivera, Matthew Morrison, and Heather Headley); and with the Boston Pops.

Also featured in the cast: Mikayla Agrella (Consuelo), Danielle Airey (Graziella), Marcos Alexander (Chino), Ariana Alvarez (Francisca), Tatiana Monique Alvarez (Francisca), Lacey Beegun (Anybodys), Jake Bradford (A-Rab), Calvin Brady (Snowboy), Carly Cannata (Estela), Devin Collins (Officer Krupke), Wes Dameron (Luis), Max DeLoach (Gee-Tar), Enrique Dueñas (Anxious), Johnny Fletcher (Lt. Schrank), Augusto Guardado (Nibbles), Ralph Johnson (Doc), Drew Lake (Velma), Timothy Lewis (Pepe), Milan Magaña (Rosalia), Katie Marshall (Minnie), Sarah Morgan (Clarice), Shahil Patel (Indio), Trevor Rex (Diesel), Simoné Sassudelli (Big Deal), Jaysen Waller (Gladhand), and Michael Wells (Action).

Moonlight Producing Artistic Director Steven Glaudini directs "West Side Story" and is joined by choreographer Hector Guerrero who is reproducing Jerome Robbins' original choreography. Music Direction is overseen by Elan McMahan and Randi Ellen Rudolph. McMahan also conducts the 29 piece orchestra in Leonard Bernstein's iconic score.

Scenic and Projection Design is by Robert Andrew Kovach, Costume Design by Dixon Reynolds, Lighting Design by Jennifer Edwards, Sound Design by Jim Zadai, Wig Design by Peter Herman, Makeup Design by Kathleen Kenna, Costume Coordination by Carlotta Malone, Roslyn Lehman, and Renetta Lloyd (with additional costume design by Lloyd), Properties Master is Bonnie Durben, and the production's Stage Manager is Jennifer L. Moody.

For more information, visit moonlightstage.com or call (760) 724-2110.

Photo Credit: Ken Jacques

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